4-0 last week! Didn't really help my standings, but with the playoffs a bit of a longshot, I'll take the stat.
Ottawa @ Hamilton: Hamilton has won three of their last 4 home games, and Ottawa is 2-6 on the road. But Ottawa, unlike Hamilton, has an outside chance of making the playoffs. I think the Cats will just use these last few games as an audition for 2006. I don't think McManus will start, which leaves only Brady, who hasn't played well in any of the games he's started this year, or Eakin or Beutjer, neither of whom has yet played a down of Canadian football. Here's another point: I've picked Hamilton to win 7 times this year, and the Cats (and I) are 1-6 in those games. I've picked them to lose 8 times, and the Cats are 2-6 (and I'm 6-2) in those games. So the Ticats do better when I pick them to lose, and so do I. Renegades by 2.
Toronto @ Montreal: The battle for first place in the east! The big game at the Big O. Two teams coming off last-play victories last week, including Montreal's 46-44 win over B.C., easily the best game of the season. (Though I was cheering for the Lions, seeing the Als win was a small price to pay for seeing such an incredible contest. That, my friends, is what Canadian football is all about: high scoring, with a dramatic finish. Even I was hoping Stala would make that catch.) The Als are going to be at home in front of their biggest crowd of the season; possibly the biggest crowd of the season. At this point I don't know the status of John Avery, but even if he plays, I don't think it will matter. Montreal is the hottest team in the league right now, playing the way they need to play at this time of year. Should be another great game, but I have no doubt of the outcome. Als by 6.
Winnipeg @ B.C.: Like Hamilton, Winnipeg is playing for pride and for jobs now. B.C. is playing for playoff position, having already clinched a home game in the post season. Winnipeg is playing pretty good football, and their loss to the Argos could have gone either way. B.C. has now lost 4 in a row, and though I have nothing against the Lions, there is a morbid, almost sadistic, part of me that wants to see their losing streak continue after they put together 11 wins to start the season. But if Printers plays the way he did against the Als, I don't think the Bombers will be able to pull this out the way Calvillo did. Lions will end their 4-game skid with a 9-point win.
Calgary @ Saskatchewan: Calgary can force the Riders out of the Western Division playoffs with a victory in this game, and can aid their slim chances of hosting a playoff game this year. The Riders, who a couple of weeks ago were the hottest team in the league, are now one of the coldest, having lost two in a row. But both were close games against good teams, and this is Regina, in a packed Taylor Field. Burris seems able to play with the cast on his left hand, but it has to be affecting him mentally. I'm guessing that pressure from the Rider D will throw him off his game. Saskatchewan by 4.
Summary: Ottawa over Hamilton, Montreal over Toronto, B.C. over Winnipeg, Saskatchewan over Calgary.